Entering the 2013 season, we're listing the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 31 in our NFL power rankings. They play in the St. Louis of Florida, which is a thought I encourage you go to back and read until it really paints you a picture. They finished 2-14 last year, and now they're led by a rookie head coach and the same feckless one-two palm smack of Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne at quarterback.
Elsewhere in the country, the League's saddest quarterback controversies are either resolved or in the process of resolving themselves. The Chiefs no longer have to choose between Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn, and the Jets, at the very least, have added a new variable to the mix in Geno Smith. The Jaguars will continue to start Gabbert, who, despite improving on his disastrous 2011, was one of the worst starters of 2012. Close behind him is Henne, whose ceiling seems apparent after five seasons.
It's time for these Jaguars to try something else. That something, I have decided, is a five-foot, 400-pound quarterback.
MEET CLARENCE BEEFTANK.
Upon choosing the Jags as my team in Madden 25's "Connected Franchise" mode, my first act was to release every quarterback on the roster. I then installed BEEFTANK, who I built in the player creation tool, as the de facto starter.
I assigned BEEFTANK (all caps, please) the following attributes.
Highest possible ratings: Strength, Speed, Acceleration, Carrying, Throwing power, Trucking, Stiff arm, Injury, Stamina, Toughness.
He is indestructible. Trying to injure BEEFTANK is like trying to puncture a cinder block. He runs like the roundest of freight trains. He is like Pac-Man, only his maze is of the existential sort that funnels him through the cockles of football's pure heart. He can frequently bowl over multiple defenders in a single run. He can also throw very, very far, a skill that does not fit into his game at all.
Lowest possible ratings: Agility, Awareness, Elusiveness, Vision, Spin move, Juke move, Throw accuracy.
BEEFTANK is thoroughly disinterested in eluding anyone or anything. He has no use for finesse. He wishes to find every last molecular structure on the planet and head-butt it until its electrons pop like bubble wrap.
His throwing power is fully tempered by his thorough inability to throw with any degree of accuracy. This isn't just for fun. I constructed BEEFTANK in this way because I reckon it's time for the Jaguars to take a break from throwing for a while. In Cecil Shorts III and (the currently-suspended) Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville possesses one of the best young pairs of wideouts in the NFL.
Judging from their recent performance in the passing game, they do not deserve these guys. I'm taking their toys away. In this experiment, the Jaguars are not permitted to pass. Either BEEFTANK rushes, or Maurice Jones-Drew does. No exceptions.
In addition, I have decided that the Jaguars punt far more often than is tasteful. They punted an average of nearly six times per game in 2012, good for second-most in the league. I am taking punting privileges away from this team. Fourth and 16 at their own 12? Sorry, friends, you're going for it. And you aren't passing.
The 2013 Jaguars' Week 1 opponent is Kansas City. Let's fire it up.
CLARENCE BEEFTANK'S SCOUTING REPORT.
BEEFTANK is a hoss. Watch as he sneaks up the middle, gets mobbed by the entire defensive line, and somehow remains upright enough to stagger into the end zone.
He is terribly dangerous in the open field. Remember that he is by no means elusive, nor does he wish to be. He identifies a target, puts his shoulders down, and knocks him to the mat.
BEEFTANK has a tremendous motor on him. Initially, I attempted to run with him on every single offensive play, which proved to be too much for him. By giving MJD nearly half the carries, however, I was able to keep him fresh.
BEEFTANK runs with such force, and has such an awkward center of gravity, that he is in danger of out-running himself. On several occasions, he'd run so hard and with such purpose that he'd stagger and fall.
My Xbox 360 has created worlds in which Carl Johnson rode a bicycle off the tallest cliff in San Andreas and survived without serious injury. It's seen headless hockey players, and it's brilliantly animated the logically bewildering world of Portal. But BEEFTANK is a force so terrifying and powerful that it can't quite square it within any realm. Every so often, it just can't keep him from falling over.
Understandably, the Jaguars receivers had trouble getting with the program. I didn't pass once the entire game, but they'd still try to call for the ball. This is what happens when you signal to BEEFTANK that you're open:
He just straight-up bowls you over, is what. He means well. He just doesn't understand.
Born in 1937. Parents were a rhinoceros, a Sherman oak, a wheelbarrow full of graphite, a ray of light that shone through the clouds, a fulfilled prophecy, a buried time capsule full of set-and-baited mouse traps, and a real big ol' dude.
Was encouraged to play football at age 10, when he chanced upon a mannequin at the clothing store wearing a shirt with the words "FOOTBALL GAME" and a drawing of a football on the front. He talked to it for hours, and it never told him he was too round for this world or that he shouldn't eat the plastic bologna rings.
Played college football at DeVry, where he studied poetry. He finished with a GPA of reddish-gray.
Dislikes taking the subway, not because of any particular phobia, but because whenever the car stops and nobody gets off, he feels terrible for the train operator.
Refers to liquids in plural, i.e., a glass of milk is "a glass of some milks."
With the BEEFTANK system in place, the Jaguars fell in Week 1 to the Chiefs, 44-21. Much of this can be blamed on my refusal to let Jacksonville punt, which both offered the Chiefs unbelievable field position and ensured that the Jags started most drives deep within their own territory.
Maurice Jones-Drew worked rather well as a No. 2 rushing option. The running back took the rock 37 times for 160 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
BEEFTANK, meanwhile, set an NFL record with 346 rushing yards in a single game, shattering the previous mark of 296. He rushed 42 times, thereby averaging 8.2 yards per carry. I could only call designed runs so many times before the Chiefs' defense started to get wise, so I had to change it up with a lot of passing plays that were repurposed as improvised runs. Roll-out passing plays were particularly effective, not because they fooled anyone, but because they allowed BEEFTANK to swing to the outside right from the start of the play.
Amazingly, despite having a target on his back the whole game, BEEFTANK only fumbled twice, and he scored all three of the Jaguars' touchdowns. He also produced 87 rushing yards after the first hit, a staggering number for a quarterback.
This is not to suggest that BEEFTANK had an easy time out there. Lord, he was hit so hard, and so often. By the second half, he'd begun to slow down a little, and had a tougher time breaking tackles. During one run in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs' Derrick Johnson speared him off his feet. Two minutes later, my controller would still not stop shaking.
Maybe BEEFTANK was hurt that badly. Maybe my Xbox 360 was, quite literally, trying to get as far away as it possibly could from this digital Hellscape I had authored.
I do not know who to apologize to, but I feel that it is important to say that I'm sorry. Your struggles are over now, BEEFTANK.